LAHORE, Pakistan: Gunmen shot dead a doctor from the minority Ahmadi community in central Pakistan on Monday, officials said, the latest attack on the beleaguered group.
Mehdi Ali, a 50-year-old heart surgeon normally based in the United States, was attacked as he visited a cemetery in the town of Chenab Nagar in Punjab province.
Ahmadis, who believe that the founder of their sect was a prophet, were declared non-Muslims by the Pakistani government in 1974 and now suffer discrimination and violent attacks.
“Two gunmen riding on a motorbike shot dead a cardiac surgeon, Dr Mehdi Ali outside the Ahmadi graveyard in Chenab Nagar,” local police official Ahmed Ali told AFP.
He said the incident occurred early on Monday morning when the doctor was going to the graveyard with his family.
“The assailants have fled the scene. We are looking into the incident. It seems to be a targeted attack,” Ali said.
The United States embassy in Islamabad confirmed Monday Mehdi was a U.S. citizen.
“The U.S. embassy is providing consular assistance” to his family, U.S. embassy spokesperson Meghan Gregonis told AFP.
Saleem Uddin, a spokesperson for the Ahmadi community, confirmed the incident and said the doctor’s family escaped the attack unharmed.
The doctor was in Pakistan on a short visit to do voluntary work at the Tahrir Cardiac Hospital, a private institution that he himself helped build.